Naomi Osaka is the 2019 Australian Open champion.
The Japanese star defeated Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic in three long sets (7-6, 7-5, 6-4) in Melbourne, Australia, today.
Osaka earned her second Grand Slam victory with the win, having defeated Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in 2018.
The 21-year-old Adidas ambassador’s match against Williams was fraught with controversy: Williams received a game penalty and a $17,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct, which sparked a renewed discussion of sexism in the sport.
This time, however, all eyes were on Osaka, who played a strong match and had risen remarkably through the world rankings in the past year (she was ranked No. 72 a year ago and moves into the No. 1 spot with today’s tournament win).
After Kvitová came back from 3-5 down in the second set, sending the match into a third set, Osaka regained her focus to shut down the 28-year-old.
Osaka is the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow her first major victory with a win at the next one.
“All the way up. No stopping the rise of
@Naomi_Osaka_. #HereToCreate,” Adidas tweeted out, sharing an image of the star on the court. Her first name was written in block letters, with the “i” in Naomi replaced with a 1.
Osaka has a deal with Adidas that is worth a reported $8.5 million a year, which marks the largest clothing/footwear deal in women’s tennis.
With the Australian Open win, it seems the German sportswear brand’s heavy investment in the young star’s career is paying off.